In May 2008 I noted that new information would appear at a future time. Ten years on, the time has arrived.
In the early days of 2018 I have been surprised by some welcome email messages from Dr Richard Stephens, of the University of York History of Art Department, who I discovered to be the editor of The Art World in Britain 1660 to 1735, an internet publication which was new to me, although it obviously shouldn't have been..
This website is at http://artworld.york.ac.uk. It aims to publish all the main sources for art in England 1660 - 1735. Itís a lifelong task that Stephens says he will never complete. But a good start has been made: there are an estimated over 10,000 newspaper adverts online, and something like 80,000 auction lots (all the surviving catalogues in fact), plus much else. The software developer of the website is Dr Paul Young of York University Digital Library.
Dr Stephens has another website, http://www.francistowne.ac.uk which is a catalogue of a late 18th century landscape painter.
The artworld website was launched on 17 October 2011 with a collection of 17,000 transcribed newspaper advertisements, incorporating a corpus of 14,000 transcripts contributed by Joseph Friedman. In addition an initial batch of 43 records from the art sales database was placed online, covering sales between 1664 and 1687, and which included four full-text sale catalogues. Indexes of the 23 names and 17 addresses associated with these sales are also online.
The website is a major initiative of Court, Country, City: British Art 1660-1735, the AHRC-funded research project based at the University of York and Tate Britain. The goal of the website is to create a searchable corpus of the principal primary sources for the history of art in Britain in the late Stuart and early Hanoverian period. The site will present new research in the form of a biographical dictionary, a database of art sales, a topographical dictionary and a group of subject-based texts. It will provide tools for further research with a database of financial records and a large checklist of works of art.
The website will be a work in progress that is updated regularly with new content. Any readers with knowledge of archival or other material that they feel could be of interest to this project --- or with transcripts that could be published there --- are warmly encouraged to contact the editor, Richard Stephens.
Dr Stephens told me he was unaware of the van de Veldes' loss of patronage from William III. He agreed it was interesting, and said that one would have thought that William III would have eagerly patronised this prominent Dutch painter, and he asked if William preferred another marine painter. See below. This prompts me to delve yet again into the religio-political-cultural-social-art-critical divide in the British population of the period 1660-1735. As every schoolboy once knew, the cavaliers were wrong but wromantic, and the roundheads right but repulsive.
Here is Horace Walpole on William III: "This prince ..... contributed nothing to the advancement of arts. He was born in a country where taste never flourished ..... In general I believe his majesty patronized neither painters nor poets ..... In England he met with nothing but disgusts ... If we must except the palace at Hampton-court, at least it is no monument of his taste; it seems erected in emulation of ..... the pompous edifices of the French monarch."
This verdict is matched by Horace's comments on the second representative of the Protestant Accession, George I: "The new monarch was void of taste Ö it was more natural to George I to be content with, or even partial to whatever he found established, than to seek for improvement and foreign ornament." It is not too difficult to discern what political or other persuasion Horace equates with "taste". It is, moreover, useful to remember in this context that George Vertue had been a dedicated Roman Catholic.
Below is an excerpt from Horace's Anecdotes of Painting, based on Vertue's original notes.
Walpole's Anecotes, Dallaway/Wornum edition 1862.
The Mirror of Empire, 1990, a survey of marine art, notes the arrival of the van de Veldes thus, quote: "The William van de Veldes chose to move to England, either at the end of 1672 or early the following year. ..... In the years before his move to England, the Elder cultivated distinguished patrons including Pieter Blaeu, the son of the great publisher Johannes Blaeu, and Cardinal Leopold de Medici ..... ". 1660 ? 1666 ? 1672 ? 1675 ? The key date is of course the arrival of William III in England, 1689. The Schelling matter is discussed elsewhere on this site. If true, it would certainly be sufficient for William III to have nothing more to do with the van de Veldes. Perhaps, as seems more likely, it was just a malicious libel; but nevertheless an indication of van de Velde popularity, or otherwise, in some anti-Stuart quarters.
It is essential to appreciate the twisted nature of that ace trimmer, Horace Walpole, in whatever he has to say in his art-historical opinions. It is necessary to read well between his lines, redolent as they are of constant ambiguity and irony. Some of Horace's additional comments are, quote: "William Vandevelde, the (Elder's) son, was the greatest man that has appeared in this branch of painting: the palm is not less disputed with Raphael for history, than with Vandevelde for sea-pieces: Annibal Caracci and Mr Scott have not surpassed those chieftains. ..... " Horace, and his tastes, are not to be relied on, or considered acceptable today. Mr Scott ?
As pointed out in the article on Monamy for the Jersey Society, 1981, quote: "(Horace Walpole's) ancestry included a number of eminent Jesuits. His great-grandfather, Edward Walpole, was prominent at the Restoration of Charles II. He went on the Grand Tour 1739-1741 and was enamoured of continental art and culture. He was invariably the strenuous defender of his father Sir Robert Walpole, for whom he had a life-long reverence."
It is interesting that the artworld website researches plan to end in 1735. The decade 1725-1735 encompasses the peak years of Monamy's prominence, when having delivered paintings to the Royal House of Hanover; whose accession was widely celebrated in the City as much as by Thomas Doggett; five canvases for the First Lord of the Admirality; as well as a notable piece donated to the Painter-Stainers' Company on becoming a liveryman, he might well modestly claim to be "Second only to Van de Velde", circa 1731. He was discarded by Horace Walpole as a painter in the reign of George II, although alive and active for 22 years of that reign. He was, of course, in the eyes of Horace, and the current website of our National Maritime Museum, "eclipsed" during the last half of his life by Mr Scott. Horace takes no notice of Mr Brooking.
1734 was incidentally the year when Sir Robert Walpole became generally recognized as the archetypal Vicar of Bray, the very model of such modern consummate politicians as Harold Wilson and Anthony Blair. "George my lawful king shall be -- until the times do alter."
1734 was also about the time the Walpole-Scott club picked up speed, and set about its enthusiastic promotion of Samuel Scott as a marine painting rival to Peter Monamy, who would have been conversely favoured by the anti-Walpole patriots.
In spite of Monamy's numerous panorama paintings and his contributions to Vauxhall Gardens, as inspected by the Prince of Wales; and to the Foundling Hospital; by the last two or three years of his life, decrepit and infirm, he would inevitably have been in a poor way of business, as noted by Vertue.
Monamy, it seems with Hogarth, was excluded from Gawen Hamilton's fraternity of virtuosi, no doubt because, as Elizabeth Einberg points out, that fraternity was largely composed of Tories and Roman Catholics. Here is what Horace Walpole had to say about William Hogarth:
Although it can scarcely be denied that Horace is wildly wrong in his assessment of Hogarth's painterly skills, it might also be allowed that the elegant author is saying more than he realises. "Expression" is precisely what makes the grass-roots rise of English self-inspired painting and sign-painting, as practised by Sailmaker, Thomas Baston, the Vale Brothers, Hogarth and Monamy, different from and superior to the instilled correctness favoured by Walpole, eventually maturing into the internationally recognized excellence of the "Expressionism" of Turner. In his overt politics Walpole went with the flow. When it became clear that the patriots had suceeded in establishing Britain's rule of the waves, Horace wrote, in 1784, that he had "ever been averse to toleration of an intolerant religion". Raphael, on a pedestal with van de Velde, was perhaps the most prominent devotee of that religion.
The biography of Monamy, currently mounted by the NMM, indicates that its author has swallowed what J. W. Croker, Secretary to the Admiralty 1809-1830, called the Walpole poison.
In the box below is a selection of observations on the career of Isaac Sailmaker, culled from Early Sea Painters, 1995, by Frank B.Cockett. Cockett's account of Sailmaker is acknowledged by him to have been compiled by his daughter, Mrs Judith Aldrick, when employed by the National Maritime Museum. In place of the van de Veldes, Sailmaker might perhaps have been preferred by William III, for non-artistic reasons.
from Van de Velde & Son, by R.Daalder, 2016.
Court, Country, City, 2016. Mark Hallett.
Contrasting Vertue with Horace Walpole,
does not mention that Vertue was a Roman Catholic who considered Charles I a martyr.
to be continued ?
van de velde 1 van de velde 2
cornelius van de velde the van de velde studio
vertue & walpole
pictures & popery
monamy & british art history
monamy website index
© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2018
all rights reserved
Below is an excellent account of the relationship between politics and art, 1640-1730
from The Week, 3 February 2018
Most of this was covered in Pictures & Popery